Updated for 2023

Housewarming Gifting Guidelines

So, you have been invited to a housewarming party, or maybe a friend or family  member has just moved into a new house or apartment and you are not sure if you need to them a gift, how much you should spend and which items make appropriate housewarming gifts.    Not to worry, in this article we will cover all the do’s and don’ts of housewarming gifts and how you can deliver good wishes to the new homeowner with the perfect gift.  This article applies to apartment move in gifts as well.  By reviewing the the five sections below you will know everything you need to be a housewarming gift expert and the hit of the housewarming party.

Housewarming Gifts Do’s & Don’ts

  • Do I Need to Give a Housewarming Gift?
  • How Much Should I Spend on a Housewarming Gift?
  • Should I Ask the New Homeowner What They Need/Want?
  • Housewarming Gifts to Avoid
  • Examples of Great Housewarming Gifts

Do I Need to Give a Housewarming Gift?

If you have been invited to a housewarming party, it is customary to bring a housewarming gift.    Even if the new homeowner tells you in person or on the invitation that you don’t need to bring a gift, you should still not arrive empty handed.  The type and cost of the gift will depend on several factors that we will discuss later in this article but plan to bring a gift. 

What if a friend or family member moves into a new house or apartment but does not have a housewarming party?   Do you still need to get them a gift?

Too start with you should keep in mind that It is never a bad idea to get someone a gift.   However, you should not feel obligated to buy a housewarming gift every time a friend or family member moves.   If your friend moves to a new apartment every six months you should not buy a gift each time.   However, if a close friend or family member moves into their first home it would be very appropriate to get them a gift.   As a general rule if you would define this individual as a close friend or family member and they haven’t moved for several years it is a nice gesture to get them a gift.  

How Much Should I Spend on a Housewarming Gift?

How Much Should I Spend on Housewarming Gifts

According to Shadow Breeze, about 44% of all housewarming gifts purchased the past year have been in the $25 to $49 range.  26% of people spent between $50 and $99, 16% spent less than $25 and 14% spend more than $100. 

While great housewarming gifts come in all price ranges, you should plan to spend between $25 and $75.   If that is more than you have in your budget, you might consider going in on a gift with others who know the new homeowner or who are invited to the party.    It is appropriate for several friends or family members to go in on a nicer gift together.    If you do go in on a gift be sure to let each party sign the card. 

Should I Ask the New Homeowner What They Need/Want?

As a rule, you should not ask the new homeowner what they want/need.    Giving a gift is a great way to show someone how you feel about them.  Asking someone what they want and then getting that gift shows that you put very little thought/effort into the gift.

If you are considering a gift that may depend on a color scheme or decorating style it is okay to ask the new homeowner about those things without talking about specific gifts.   

Housewarming Gifts to Avoid

Dead House Plant

Each new homeowner is unique and so are their needs.  What is good for one may not be good for another.   However, there are some gifts which should be avoided unless you know for sure they would be appreciated. 

  • Houseplants – Unless you know the new homeowner really likes plants you should avoid giving them as housewarming gifts. Taking care of a plant takes a commitment that they might now be willing to give.
  • Bottle of Wine – Wine can be a great gift but only if you are sure that the homeowners would appreciate it. Many people don’t drink or have very specific tastes when it comes to wine, so it is better to go a different direction.
  • Art or Home Décor – Because everyone’s decorating tastes and styles are so different you should avoid art or other home décor. It can be awkward for the new homeowner when they don’t want to display the gift but feel obligated, especially if you are in the home frequently. 
  • Funny Gifts or Gag Gifts – Even if you think they will love a gag gift or funny gift, it is better to steer clear. Just because your old college roommate loved your neon beer sign when she was in college, she may not appreciate it now. 
  • Gift Cards – A gift card is a great way to show your friend/family member that you put no thought into their gift. If you are worried about a gift not being used, include a gift receipt with your gift and let the homeowner know that if they would like a different color/style you would love for them to exchange your gift. 
  • Cash - Generally you should avoid giving cash as a housewarming gift.   It it impersonal and shows a lack of thought to your gift.

Examples of Great Housewarming Gifts

Great housewarming gifts are both practical and creative.   When possible they should be personalized to the recipient.  Gifts for a housewarming ceremony or party should be thoughtful and personalized.  Unique housewarming gifts are often the best housewarming gifts because they may a lasting impression.    While not meant to be a complete list, the following items make popular housewarming gifts:

Personalized Kitchen Supplies Gift Basket

Housewarming Gift Basket


Items such as personalized cutting boards and engraved wine glasses make great housewarming gifts. Even though many of these items aren’t used every day they are items that a new homeowner would not normally buy for themselves.  In addition, the homeowner will remember your thoughtful gift each time they pull them out and use them.

Fun Food and Snack Gifts

Housewarming Food Basket

Gift baskets with food and snacks make great traditional housewarming gifts because they are easily shared and don’t have to match someone’s home décor or style. Moving into a new home can be time consuming and some food or snacks may be very helpful.  For example, a new homeowner would probably love a charcuterie gift set that not only includes enough snack to host a party but also some unique boards, bowels and spreaders that they can keep and use in the future.  Spice sets also make great gifts for the first-time homeowner since they have likely not built up a great spice collection yet.

Small Household Items Like Coasters or Wine Glasses

Personalized Coasters & Glasses

Pick items that the homeowner is likely to use but don’t have to be left out or matched to home décor. Personalized wine glasses or custom marble coasters will be used by the new home owner for years to come.  A soft blanket for those cold winter nights can also be a perfect housewarming gift.

Relaxing Gifts

Spa Housewarming Gift

Moving Is stressful. A gift that can be used to help relax after a long day of unpacking might be a big hit.    A gift box or crate with bath bombs, great smelling lotions, a personalized insulated wine tumbler for the bathtub, etc., might make you the hit of the housewarming party.

Impressive Looking Housewarming Gifts

In addition to picking the right gift you should make sure that the gift is presented in a beautiful fun way.  Instead of wrapping paper and bows that will be thrown out why not make your gift packaging part of the gift.    A new homeowner would love a gift that comes in a personalized pine box that they will keep and use as home décor or to store items.  If you are looking for a fun opening experience you could give them a gift in a sealed crate that they must break open to get to their gift.    No matter what you choose, be sure your gift packaging adds to your gift. 

Housewarming Gift Ideas

If you're looking for housewarming gift ideas, it's important to consider the recipient's living situation. For example, gifts for small apartments might include space-saving items like collapsible storage bins or a compact coffee maker. Move-in gifts for apartments could include practical items like a toolkit or cleaning supplies, or decorative items like a cozy throw blanket or wall art.

Griha Pravesh Gift Ideas

If you're attending a gruhapravesam or griha pravesh ceremony, which is a Hindu housewarming ceremony, consider bringing a traditional gift like a brass lamp or a coconut. Other great housewarming gift ideas include a personalized doormat, a plant or succulent, or a set of kitchen gadgets. Whatever you choose, make sure it's thoughtful and reflects the recipient's taste and needs.

Use the comments below to let us know what housewarming gifts you have received that made the biggest impression on you.


July 21, 2021 — Matt Graham


Theresa said:

What is an appropriate response/ action to a well- off family member suggesting what you can give them for a house- warming gift after moving into their million plus new home? No house warming party involved.

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